Do You Even Study Bro?

Reported by Jacks Whitehurst

Photographed by Coleman Wiemer

I am a professional procrastinator if there ever was one. As cliché as that sounds from a college student, I believe we can all relate on some level to putting off an assignment or reading until the night before its due, then flying into class feeling accomplished for the perfunctory work that we know will land us a solid “A-.”

But if you really want to get the most out of your college education instead laboring over shmoop on every assignment, then here are seven tips for you.

1. Take notes by hand. This is probably one of the easiest ways into tricking your brain that you actually know stuff. Problem solved.

2. Get a planner! I did not believe in planners until I got one for the first time this year. I went through my entire freshman year without one, and probably still would not have one had I not accepted that I am now an adult, with a real life, and with real things that I need to actually do. A planner is an invaluable tool.

3. Invest in sticky notes and index cards. They are a cheap way to remind yourself when writing things down in your planner simply will not be enough, and you will feel accomplished throwing them away when you are done.


4. Do not sleep next to your phone. While this is more preventative than anything, it helps you get a better night’s rest. Try to avoid looking at screens thirty minutes prior to crawling into bed, and you just might notice the difference the next day.

5. Take breaks; It helps with retaining information and staving off burnout. Do not break too long though. Limit yourself.

6. Do your homework in different environments. Most of the time when I get swamped, I immediately retreat to the library because upstairs is quiet and being surrounded by books can be very peaceful. But I have heard that switching up the location can be beneficial if you are looking to retain more information and train yourself that as a college student, your office is everywhere.

7. Spread out the work over a few days. This is probably the hardest, and the tip that requires the most discipline. While, in the moment, there are better things to do than read those 30 pages a day or study for two hours for a specific test that is one week away, this practice can be the most rewarding to your overall sanity.

While these are just a few of the study habits I have discovered to be the most helpful, there do exist some unconventional ones as well, as most orthodox practices these days are seemingly ineffective when it comes to the real life of a college student. (If you have not heard of the college life triangle myth, I suggest you look it up.) 

If none of these really make a difference for you, but you are okay with starting small, try this one first: If you like candy, reward yourself with a small piece every time you finish a paragraph, or problem, or chapter. Adjust frequency accordingly, and stick to it. However, you will probably have to offset this with gym time, if the practice continues!